CINCINNATI — The Steelers were obliterated at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals 41-10 on Sunday as they seemingly could never find a sense of the rhythm of which to work through. Moreover, Mike Tomlin had a decision to make as he continued through the game. Should he pull his key players or not?
However, Tomlin never waivered and only pulled Najee Harris out of the game after being asked to do so by Ben Roethlisberger. No one else was removed from the game. Still, Tomlin notes that even his stars needed the reps because no one played well enough.
“We need the work,” Tomlin said. “We weren’t playing well enough.”
For someone like Roethlisberger, his pride and heart would never let him come out of the game. For him, it felt like something that he must work through because he needed to show the heart and effort to pick up his ailing team.
“You know, games like this show a lot in the end,” Roethlisberger said. “It shows about a person, a team, their character, their will, their heart. And when you are down a bazillion points at the end of the game, do guys quit, do they stop fighting, do they give up a little bit, or do they continue to fight and fight for each other? I didn’t ask coach one time to come out because there’s a Steeler way. It’s fighting to the end.”
Much in the same manner, Cam Heyward thought the same way. As the grizzled veteran of the group, Heyward saw it as an opportunity to improve and get reps. More so, he saw it as a learning experience.
“Hell yeah. I’m here for four quarters,” Heyward said. “You will never see me shy away from that. I don’t care if a game is out of reach. There’s a lot to be learned. Whether you’re just trying to get back into the thick of things or you’re trying to get your technique right, if they allow me to go back out there, I’ll be back out there.”
The Steelers, as all three noted, played their starters until the very end of the game. Regardless of how the game turned out, Tomlin and his staff wanted the players to learn from their reps as much as possible.